May 15, 2011

DNA Links Watsonville Man to Sexual Assault, Kidnapping and Beating

SANTA CRUZ -- On May 12, 2011, Santa Cruz Police Detectives arrested Octavio Castillo in Watsonville for a sexual assault that occurred in Santa Cruz on October 16, 2010.  In addition to arresting Castillo, Detectives served a search warrant at Castillo’s Watsonville residence.  This case involved a 28 year-old female victim that was taken from Santa Cruz while walking home from a party.  She was severely beaten and sexually assaulted before being left on the side of the road just outside of Watsonville.

Castillo was identified as the suspect through a DNA match in the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS).  Evidence obtained was processed by Department of Justice Bureau of Forensic Sciences DNA lab. The lab was able to develop a DNA profile of a male the suspect from the evidence.  Once the DNA profile was developed, it was entered into the CODIS database on November 15, 2010.  An initial comparison did not reveal a match for anyone currently in the system.

Santa Cruz Police Detectives continued to request a comparison be run with the DNA profile in this case.  On Tuesday May 10, 2011, the police department was notified of a match with the DNA profile.  The match came as the result of a DNA sample collected from suspect Castillo when he was arrested for possession of stolen property and auto burglary in February of 2011.  Detectives obtained arrest and search warrants for Castillo and his residence.  Detectives immediately began surveillance looking Castillo. He was located near his residence in Watsonville and arrested by Santa Cruz Police Detectives on May 12, 2011.

Once again, this case underscores the importance of the relationship between the Santa Cruz Police Department and the State of California Department of Justice Bureau of Forensic Services lab and the importance of the services they provide.  The Santa Cruz Police Department would like to acknowledge California Department of Justice Bureau of Forensic Services Chief Jill Spriggs and her team for their work in this case.